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Volume 26, Number 6 — June 2019

The Paramount Chamber Players present "The Art of Singing'

The Paramount Chamber Players
The Paramount Chamber Players

March 29, 2017

What better way to celebrate the art of singing and instrumental melody than with the voices of young people? Local composer, Beth McCoy has written a new work, "Celtic Suite," especially for The Paramount Chamber Players and Bella Voce of the Mountain Empire Children's Choral Academy.

The five movements of "Celtic Suite" each parody a different historical musical style — medieval, baroque, classical, impressionistic and late 20th century. McCoy spent considerable time researching ancient texts and decided on a variety of sources connecting Celtic writers and lyricists over the ages including some of the earliest texts of Irish Verse attributed to Amergin Glúingel, as well as texts from St. Patrick, St. Columba and William Butler Yeats. The work is a collection of musical and poetic style merged into a modern framework and set for a girls' choir and chamber ensemble.

Following the same theme of history and community, the Paramount Chamber Players also present Bristol composer Ann Holler's "Souvenirs of Faith," a compilation of old country hymn tunes. In Holler's words, "Hymns tell the story of faith. The settings we hear today are a kind of storytelling, and perhaps they will expose as yet unrevealed dimensions of this music that is so familiar to us."

In an historical twist, the group presents American composer Jake Heggie's "Friendly Persuasions" sung by the 2016 Paramount Chamber Player's Award winner, tenor Thomas O'Neill. "Friendly Persuasions" tells four stories from the life of Francis Poulenc: a conversation with harpsichordist Wanda Landowska; a Christmas scene as he works out a new song for singer Pierre Bernac; a lament for Raymonde Linossier, a female compatriot who died a bit early; and a work outlining his feelings about the French resistance.

They top off the concert by getting their instruments singing the tunes of the great melodist Johannes Brahms in his Piano Quartet in G minor.

The Paramount Chamber Players welcome guest violist David Kovac, professor at East Tennessee State University as well as local favorite violinists Cameron Lugo and David Lugo. Players appearing in the concert are Craig W. Combs, piano; George Figueroa, violin; Cherylonda Fitzgerald, cello; Eugene Jones, clarinet; Thomas Maternik, cello; Catherine McGlasson, viola; and Rebecca Paluzzi, flute.

Performances are Thursday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, Kingsport, Tennessee; Friday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church, Johnson City, Tennessee; Saturday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Paramount Center in Bristol, Tennessee; and Sunday, April 9 at 3 p.m. as part of the Spencer-Miller Memorial Concert Series at Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church in Abingdon, Virginia.

Students are admitted free at all venues. Tickets are available at the door for all performances for $15/general admission, $12/seniors. Tickets for the Spencer-Miller Memorial Concert Series performance on Sunday afternoon are available at the door for $10 for general admission. Advance tickets may be purchased at for the Paramount Center performance or at the box office.

Topics: Music